Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

José Quintero's The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, a 1961 movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams' 1951 novella, stars Vivien Leigh a half dozen years before her death, Warren Beatty on the upswing, Jill St. John, Coral Browne and Lotte Lenya, among others. This provides a field day for fans of Tennessee Williams, the ambience of Rome or any of the actors.   
Vivien Leigh's Karen Stone stands in for herself and also for Tennessee Williams. Not only is she (and they) trying to overcome loneliness and a sense of  mortality through "a geographic;" so, too, there's an eerie, haunted-looking stalker always just out of reach, a specter, a momento mori or reminder of limited years in which to live.  Many reading this will have at least some inkling of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939) and as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).    
Other actors featured in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone have greater contexts, as well. Two of them feature prominently in James Bond films, one apiece -- think From Russia, With Love (1963) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971) to dig the connections.

This was José Quintero's only outing as a movie director -- he normally stuck with stage productions. 

Finally, there was a remake in 2003, but that's for another time and another place. 

Today's Rune: Harvest.

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